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Principles laid under S. 300 CrPC and principle of double jeopardy under Art. 20(2) of the Constitution differ from each other: Bombay High Court

While setting aside an impugned order, the Bombay High Court provided an explanation of the minor distinction between the principles set forth in Section 300 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 and the principle of double jeopardy under Article 20 (2) of the Indian Constitution through Justice Manish Pitale in the case of Sachin v. State of Maharashtra (CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO. 119 OF 2020)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

In order to show that the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in the current case erred in passing the impugned order, the petitioner invoked the principles of nemo debet bis vexari (no man shall be put twice in peril for the same offence) and autrefois acquit (the person has been acquitted on a same charge on which he is being prosecuted). These principles are codified in Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

According to the report, the Food Safety Officer filed a police report saying that the petitioner’s Om Shanti Pan Center in Malkapur had prohibited materials including Gutkha and other similar materials stored there.

For offences under Sections 188 and 272 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 59 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act) the petitioner was found not guilty. Even though there was an order of acquittal in favour of the petitioner for an offence under Section 59 of the FSS Act, the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate determined that the order of acquittal was useless because it was issued by a court that lacked the authority to try the petitioner for an offence under the FSS Act. It was decided that Section 300 of the CrPC could not be utilised because the order of acquittal was issued by the Court, which could not be claimed to be a Court of Competent Jurisdiction.

Thus, the petition was filed to contest the court’s ruling mentioned above.

JUDGEMENT:

According to the Bench, the two aforementioned principles differ slightly from the idea of double jeopardy as it is expressed in Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution. In the case of State of Maharashtra v. Sayyed Hassan Subhan, (2019), the Supreme Court categorically held that the Food Safety Officer can also file complaints about offences punishable under the IPC in addition to offences under the FSS Act. The court found the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s conclusion to be in direct opposition to this ruling.

As a result of the FIR being filed against the petitioner for offences under the IPC and FSS Act, it was determined that the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate made a procedural error in the impugned order and that the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class could not have tried the petitioner for the offence under the FSS Act. The court determined that the facts of the current case plainly fall under the principles stated in Section 300 CrPC. Applying the aforementioned principle further, the High Court determined that it was obvious that the petitioner would be put in danger twice for the same offence if the impugned order was upheld and he had to face the criminal proceedings later launched by the food safety officer. As a result, the impugned order was reversed.

The petition was accepted in light of the aforementioned.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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